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Man Facing 75 Years In Jail For Recording The Police; Illinois Assistant AG Says No Right To Record Police

from the insanity dept

Following on the news of a court in Massachusetts stating, clearly, that arresting someone for recording the police is a 1st Amendment violation, you’d hope that we’d start hearing fewer such stories. And yet, as Nick Burns alerts us (followed by a few more of you), over in Illinois, a guy named Michael Allison appears to be facing 75 years in prison for recording the police. Similar to other cases, the police charged him with illegal eavesdropping under an Illinois state law — in this case, five felony counts, each of which could get 15 years in prison.

Even worse, the Illinois Assistant Attorney General is arguing that there is no such thing as a right to film the police. Shouldn’t there be a rule that if you’re totally ignorant of basic Constitutional rights, you don’t get to be Attorney General of anything? The Allison case is particularly nasty. It seems clear that it’s a vindictive response to the fact that Allison challenged a fine he got for working on unregistered cars on his mother’s property. As happens all too often in these types of cases, the prosecutors have been offering Allison plea bargain deals, and I’d imagine they’ll keep doing that as public pressure gets stronger. It’s the only way to save face against a ridiculous prosecution. Allison is refusing to accept any plea deal.

Also, if you watch the video above, it really shows the kind of chilling effects these arrests have. In the middle of the video, the news reporter comes across some law enforcement officials and asks them some questions, but the station’s lawyers refuse to let the reporter play the audio on air… because it might violate the very same law on which the reporter is reporting. Later on, they do show some law enforcement officials — including the Assistant AG mentioned above — but only because they believe there’s an exception to the law for journalists “at public hearings.”

The ruling in Massachusetts doesn’t directly apply here, as these are different circuits, but that doesn’t mean the court can’t or won’t pay attention, and I’m sure Allison’s lawyers will highlight the Glik ruling in court. Hopefully, the Illinois court finds the logic compelling.

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Comments on “Man Facing 75 Years In Jail For Recording The Police; Illinois Assistant AG Says No Right To Record Police”

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121 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Brixton

When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting in death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you’ll have to answer to
Oh, Guns of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
And even [Fucking] shoot us
But oh- the guns of Brixton

Ninja (profile) says:

Put aside some real headache the guy is gonna sue the heck out of Illinois and get some money in the way while setting a huge precedent. Not every bad thing that happens is for the worst.

Now, that’s the 3rd time I see Illinois mentioned in ridiculous and insane lawsuits this week.. I’m starting to see a ‘western Texas’ pattern here, except that it’s not patent/copyright/trademark trolling.

Anonymous Coward says:

let’s just say that the 75 year thing is pretty much a non-starter, because almost without exception a guilty verdict would get him at most 15 years, as consecutive sentences are almost unheard of these days.

So right away, while the 75 years is “factually” true, it’s pretty misleading. What is the minimum for the same infraction? Probation.

Story sounds different when it’s “he’s faces a years probation on each charge”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Let’s just say that your ‘non-starter’ is actually the core of the issue. It’s not only relevant it’s the most pertinent fact. When you’re trying to work out the pros and cons of going to trial and what you risk in doing so the possibility for 15 consecutive years for each count will weigh very heavily which is why it is unfair that the potential even exists. It skews to far in the state’s favor for getting a plea bargain on cases that would/should be dismissed or acquitted at trial and in so doing it makes the statute a very powerful tool in cases like this one for getting the civil suit against the state dismissed.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

…It skews to far in the state’s favor for getting a plea bargain on cases that would/should be dismissed or acquitted at trial and in so doing it makes the statute a very powerful tool in cases like this one for getting the civil suit against the state dismissed.

And as this is the most likely motivation for this type of prosecution tactic, the state should have to pay treble damages to the victim of this in the inevitable suit.

Also, the prosecutor and law enforcement personnel involved should be held criminally liable for harassment and serve time in jail for violating this man’s constitutional rights.

My grandfather did not serve in WWII to have our country devolve into the very thing he and the rest of his generation fought against and where a great number of them died so that we could live in “freedom”.

JMHO

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“My grandfather did not serve in WWII to have our country devolve into the very thing he and the rest of his generation fought against and where a great number of them died so that we could live in ‘freedom’.”

I know you mean well by this statement, but I just cringe anytime I hear someone utter it, regardless of whether it’s the veteran speaking personally or someone else like a relative or even just a politician. Ultimately, since we don’t live in the world of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, veterans have no more say about how the country should be run than any other citizen. Being a veteran may grant you greater honor in the eyes of many people, but it doesn’t grant you any greater authority on the topic of what’s better for the country.

We know prosecuting this guy for this “crime” is stupid, and it doesn’t affect the argument to reference whether our grandfather’s fought in World War II or not or why they chose to fight.

I’ve heard the same kind of statement from bigots who argue that they didn’t fight in a war so that we could have a black man as a president or take God out of the government. Being a veteran doesn’t mean your ideas about politics and society aren’t possibly stupid.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And I agree with what you are saying as veterans are in fact people. The point I was trying to make here is that it is too easy to just simply defer to the power or the convenience and as a result, at some point there is going to be push-back.

In WWII, the “push-back” resulted in millions of deaths and the toppling of a corrupt and sociopathic dictatorship. And all it took for that evil to rise to prominence in the first place was that good men did nothing which resulted in my grandfather’s generation ultimately having to go to war.

I would rather see the warning be enough to change the course we are on rather than it degenerating into a wider fur-ball later on…

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“…without exception a guilty verdict would get him at most 15 years…”

Really, that’s all you have to say? There’s nothing else about this story worth commenting on? You’re happy with a 15 year sentence for this “crime”?

“Story sounds different when it’s “he’s faces a years probation on each charge”.”

No, the story sounds just as bad, and it’s pretty shocking that you don’t think so. Nobody should ever face any charges for simply filming the police.

Loki says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Tell me Mike:

Otto Kerner, Jr. (D) was convicted of 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and income-tax charges from his time as governor, and received 3 years in prison and a $50,000 fine in 1973.

Dan Walker (D), was involved in the Savings and loan scandals and convicted of federal crimes related to fraudulent loans to himself from his own First American Savings & Loan Association of Oak Brook. He was sentenced to seven years in prison with five years of probation following his release.

George H. Ryan (R) was convicted in 2006 of corruption related to his time as Illinois Secretary of State in the 1990s, when commercial driver’s licenses were issued to unqualified truckers in exchange for bribes, and one of the truckers was involved in a crash that killed six children. Ryan is slated for release in 2013.

Rod Blagojevich has yet to be sentenced.

So lets see:
Bribery, conspiracy, perjury, income tax charges, fraud, money laundering, falsification of documents (that ultimately led to the death of six children) and so on – about 17ish total years (+5 probation).

Filming a cop – up to 75 years, but really it might only be 15ish.

Yeah, there isn’t much of a disconnect there.

Still, the fact is that if the system there is so corrupt even the governors can’t stay out of prison, then this sort of thing from the rank and file isn’t that unexpected.

kenichi tanaka says:

Just wait. These Nazi thugs that pose as our police officers, paid by the very taxpayers who they are arresting, are going to end up getting targeted by Americans from every corner of our country.

You’re going to end up with Americans taking out their frustration on police and I wouldn’t be too surprised if law abiding citizens start taking their anger out in very violent means, against these same police officers.

And the U.S. Congress continues to allow this to happen.

high flyer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You are 100% RIGHT! The TRUE patriots of this country (less than 5% of the population) are SICK AND TIRED OF THIS COMMI-GESTAPO SHIT!! WE’VE HAD IT! We have declared WAR AGAINST THE COMMUNISTS IN THIS COUNTRY! We beat you pieces of shit bastards way back when and guess what? WE’RE GONNA BEAT YOU AGAIN! So if YOU who are reading this are a commi-gestapo-punk asshole, I strongly suggest you do one of these things;………..
1. either LEAVE THE COUNTRY NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN! or……
2.Shape up your act ASAP!

It’s all coming back on the heads of these gestapo. They’ve gone on and on and on for years thinking that they could just push around and abuse american citizens treating them like shit, falsely arresting them on trumped up BS, constantly targeting them, but now it’s ALL OVER! Its all over for them.
Their “time” has come!

Anonymous Coward says:

The writer’s ignorance is shown here: “Shouldn’t there be a rule that if you’re totally ignorant of basic Constitutional rights, you don’t get to be Attorney General of anything?”

You may wish to brush up on Constitutional Law both federal and Illinois before you make statements like this. While federal precedent states people do not have always have an expectation of privacy in public settings (Delaware v. Prouse), state statutes apply if the conversation occurred within a state and not across state lines. Taking a picture of a person in a public setting = no privacy protection; recording a conversation of a person, even in a public setting = privacy protected.

In Illinois, ‘dual consent’ is required to record conversations. PERIOD.

Is the application of the law asinine? Sure.
Is it a Constitutional right to record people? NO.

Do your damn job and try a little research: http://www.rcfp.org/taping/states/illinois.html

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Is it a Constitutional right to record people? NO.

You mean except for this first circuit court opinion saying that it is a constituional right to record the police? And by the by, the court also determines that it’s such a strong right, that the police officers who arrested the guy for it should have known it was a right, and therefore will not get qualified immunity:

The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative. It is firmly established that the First Amendment?s aegis extends further than the text?s proscription on laws ?abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,? and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. As the Supreme Court has observed, ?the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.??

The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles. Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting ?the free discussion of governmental affairs.?

So take your authoritarian, statist bullshit and cram it up your ass. Thanks!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You mean except for this first circuit court opinion saying that it is a constituional right to record the police? And by the by, the court also determines that it’s such a strong right, that the police officers who arrested the guy for it should have known it was a right, and therefore will not get qualified immunity:

Maybe you need to brush up on your understanding of law. Glick v Cunniffe was in a different FEDERAL district court; unless the matter is brought up in fed dist court, the case is determined by the Illinois courts. *IF* he files a habeas writ in fed court, the district may use state decisis to rule the same, but it’s NOT a requirement.

So take your ignorance and shove it up YOUR ass.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So let’s get this straight. If the court that is hearing this wiretapping laws allow for police officers, who are paid through taxpayers, have a right to privacy in public that’s all well and good?

And the man is allowed to be put in jail equivalent to a felony for something that police officers have been doing since the 80s or the 90s, that’s also a crime against humanity?

Is this seriously your argument?

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Where did I say it wasn’t a federal court? The first amendment has been incorporated against the states, therefore your assertion that we have no first amendment rights to record the police “because he’s in Illinois” is wrong: we do have that right, and at least one federal court has upheld that the first amendment bars states from arresting people for openly recording the police.

Now, if the 7th circuit takes the case and if they rule the other way, that would be a circuit split (virtually guaranteeing that the supreme court will get involved), but until then, I’d say this statement of yours:

Is it a Constitutional right to record people? NO.

Is complete crap.

Richard says:

Re: Re:

“In Illinois, ‘dual consent’ is required to record conversations. PERIOD.”

Try telling the Officer to shut off his dash cam or recorder as you aren’t giving him consent and see how that works out, so your “PERIOD” isn’t really a period, it’s more of a comma followed by numerous exceptions.

Loki says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am not sure if police there use audio in their cams (I know several departments that don’t for this very reason). I have friends who’ve done security up in Illinois and they say the don’t do audio in their surveillance to avoid running the risk of violating this law. Remember it is only audio that counts for this statute as written (so if can show your recording has no audio, you’re in the clear… in theory).

Unfortunately, while there are probably exceptions carved out elsewhere, this law (like many) is very poorly written and therefore often used in ways clearly not intended.

Cowardly Annon says:

I like the fact that this man is going to fight this. That shows a great deal of courage and strength that many people, even with the full backing of the peanut gallery, don’t possess.

I also appreciate how he points out the hypocrisy of it all. Police in Illinois record civilians all the time. Every traffic stop, recorded. I feel he brings up a very good point that if you record something that the police are also recording, they are within the law and you are against it. It is complete and utter bullshit.

kenichi tanaka says:

Law Enforcement might want to be careful because that easedropping law also protects Americans from being recorded without their approval as well.

If someone ever decided to sue a police office for recording them they could claim that since the law was enacted, that audio recording or simply recording anyone without their permission could be a violation of this law as well. Surveillance cameras, red light cameras …

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

> They have an exception to the law written
> specifically for them, apparently.

I haven’t seen the Illinois statute, but the Maryland statute, which the police also like to abuse in this manner, doesn’t have a law enforcement or a jounalist exception, so it not only becomes a 1st Amendment violation, but also an Equal Protection violation as well.

dg says:

This happened to me in college while in Normal, IL. My friends were arrested for riding a raft down a creek (not sure if that’s illegal) and some of my other friends taped the arrest. The cops chased them down to my dorm where they barged in w/o a warrant (granted they technically don’t need one for a dorm) and demanded the tape or “we’d all be going to jail”. Which I guess also meant me even though I wasn’t a part of the rafting or the taping. IL = corrupt.

Mr. Smarta** says:

Welcome to the new nation

Welcome to the new United States of the Fascist American Government. This is about the fifth step, as the other steps were made long ago. We have no rights. They are an illusion. His majesty, King Obama, is now taking over. Welcome to your new fascist home, where you have to pay $1,835 per month for the security cameras installed in your home so the new federal fascist government officials can watch you jerk off because you just might think about freedom.

That ‘jury’ they’re going to have in this trial? Yeah, the judge for Ill. will simply tell them, “What?? You decided not guilty?? That’s BULLS***!!! Overridden! Guilty! Sentenced to 75 years for filming, 100 years for fighting this, 25 years because the jury tried to say you’re not guilty so you must’ve swayed them… and, oh yeah, 134 years for pissing me off!!! Court adjorned.”

Welcome to the United States of Fascist American Government. We hope you enjoy your incarceration… which will be coming at some point as soon as we can make up a bogus law and charge you with it.

And since you read this post to this point, you just earned 10 years hard labor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Welcome to the new nation

“Welcome to the United States of Fascist American Government.”

I wouldn’t say its fascist. Its really more akin to the GDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) these days. With the law enforcement becoming more and more like the STASI. Sometimes after the fall of the Soviet Union, the ‘free, democratically elected’ governments of the western hemisphere found out that the apparatus of control used by the GDR was very effective. The only reason they fell was because of poor economic policies rather then any ideological/ethical failure. So if they manage to keep the economy afloat, the only thing you’ll be seeing is even greater levels of control.

RD says:

Re: Welcome to the new nation

“We have no rights. They are an illusion. His majesty, King Obama, is now taking over.”

You think this all because of OBAMA ALONE??

Bwahahahahahahaha

What a brainwashed partisan tool you are. Really? OBAMA is the problem? Obama is the one removing rights and leading us to this? Where the fuck have you been for the last 20-odd years? Did you COMPLETELY miss W and his Patriot Act and numerous privacy-eroding decisions (“the constitution is just a god damned piece of paper”)? Or all the other presidents since at least Nixon who have contributed to the mess we are in, not to mention the hundreds of traitorous members of Congress? And lets not even get started on the mega wealthy power brokers like the Bilderbergers and all that conspiracy stuff (some of which is in fact true).

You are a good example of why we are in the situation we are in. You have bought the lie hook, line and sinker and are blindly following the wrong rabbit down the wrong hole.

Obama….snort….chortle….GOOD ONE!!

Mr. Smarta** says:

Re: Re: Welcome to the new nation

I never said he did anything alone. I just suggested he’s taking over. He has all the support of his socialist friends and cronies who’ve been in power the past 20 to 50 years. All of his czars are strategically placed. If not him, then some other socialist authoritative power-hungry person who wishes to crown themselves king or queen. I never said anything about him doing anything ‘alone’. And I also mentioned we’re on the fifth step, and that the other steps were made long ago.

Might be time for you to get your eyes checked. I know a good eye doctor that can help.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Welcome to the new nation

“socialist” is the new “communist”: as soon as the word is uttered as an epithet against people with whom the speaker disagrees, you can safely disregard anything else the speaker says.

Especially when its’ used in such a way that it’s clear the speaker has no idea what socialism actually is.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Welcome to the new nation

> “socialist” is the new “communist”: as soon
> as the word is uttered as an epithet against
> people with whom the speaker disagrees, you
> can safely disregard anything else the speaker
> says.

Actually, that status belongs first and foremost to “racist”, which is routinely used as a tool to shut down debate without ever having to address the merits of the issue.

The media is replete with journalists and politicians who insinuate that any opposition to Obama has ‘tinges’ of racism, but when challenged to point to any specific racist behavior, they can’t. And when they’re opponents don’t cooperate and fail to do or say anything racists, they just claim that certain words are ‘coded racism’, which is particularly ingenious trick, because, after all, if I accuse you of using racial code, how do you prove that something you said *isn’t* code for something else? You can’t, and they know it. The accusation is all that matters.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Welcome to the new nation

LOL – what a farce. Obama is not a socialist nor could any of his policies even remotely be considered as such. At best Obama is an old time Rockefeller type moderate republican if you need a reference.

Now if you want to know what a real Socialist is, try this site: http://sanders.senate.gov/

Thomas (profile) says:

Re: Welcome to the new nation

It’s not Obama, it is just something that got started way before he took office and naturally people in power like it so he just continued what had been started already.

That being said, the government of the U.S. is far more of a danger to the welfare of citizens of the U.S. than the Taliban, Al Queada, and all the islamice jihadists in the world combined. We need not fear the Taliban, you should fear the Gestapo.

nazisquasher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Welcome to the new nation

U R 100% correct Thomas! The so-called “law enforcement” in the ‘divided states of shit” are nothing more than the biggest ‘street-thug gang’ in the country! They are the communist gestapo of north america! There are NUMEROUS persons now through out the entire world that believe that the u.s. of shit is without a doubt one of the most DANGEROUS COUNTRIES ON EARTH!! And this is ALL because of the commi-punk gestapo assholes! They are nothing more than a huge gov’t funded domestic terrorist force! THEY ARE THE TERRORISTS!
WAKE UP AMERICA! STOP HIDING YOUR HEADS IN THE SAND WHILE GESTAPO TERRORISTS SQUASH OUR RIGHTS AND ABUSE CITIZENS EVERY CHANCE THEY GET!!

Michael Lockyear (profile) says:

The reason that you are seeing more and more of these cases is that you live in a police-state…you just haven’t realized it.

The moment the American people allowed their government to openly hold people without trial and commit torture, America became a police-state.

Expect to see more of the same and worse…

No right to carry a firearm…even if you actually do have the right (Connecticut):
http://www.theagitator.com/2011/08/27/ignorance-of-the-law-is-no-excuse-unless-youre-in-law-enforcement-2/

No right to resist criminal police action (Indiana):
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ec169697-a19e-525f-a532-81b3df229697.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Oh some of us have realized and it started long before bush had the CIA waterboard a few militants. The causes are many and varied and include having the financial system completely disassociated with the country as a whole, prisons becoming profitable enterprises, massive bureaucracy, corporate buyout of the legislative branch, corporate infiltration of the judicial branch, and corporate corruption of the executive branch.

I fully expect violent revolt in the next 5-10 years

Thomas (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They can now hold people as “material witnesses” to a crime, and ‘detain” them indefinitely. Since they have not been formally arrested, they have no right to make a phone call or to an attorney. There have been cases where people were thrown into 23 hour lockdown for months at a time and never charged with anything. This is a true sign of a police state.

CR Dickens (profile) says:

Recording - Illegal

The fear of repercussion is driving these laws. When the police act inappropriately, they should be punished, but when all of the police act badly they enact laws to control public view. When the law no longer pertains to enforcers we have lost liberty and freedom. We have lost our right to protection from the people we hire to protect us. One more time around the bowl and down we go?

aldestrawk says:

more details

The law was amended in 1994 to get rid of the expectation of privacy clause because it had been ruled that the police had no expectation of privacy while on duty. There are three states with similar laws making it illegal to record a conversation with the police; Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland. In all the cases, a sound recorder was used, surreptitiously, to record either an arrest or discussion with the police. No one has yet been convicted under the amended law of eavesdropping on the police. Previous charges were used to plea bargain down to a reduced charge. There are currently 3 cases that are ongoing: Michael Allison, Christopher Drew, and Tiawanda Moore, with Christopher Drew’s case being the oldest, his arrest dating from December, 2009. The most disturbing case is the one dealing with Moore however.

This is a nice article summarizing the cases and putting things into perspective:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/chicago-district-attorney-recording-bad-cops_n_872921.html
From this article:

“The ACLU of Illinois is also challenging the law. But in January, U.S. District Court Judge Suzanne B. Conlon ruled against the organization. Conlon wrote that the First Amendment does not protect citizens who record the police. The ACLU has appealed and expects to participate in oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit sometime in the fall.”

“n a hearing last December, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Jeff Allen invoked homeland security, arguing that Drew’s recording could have picked up police discussing anti-terrorism tactics. Drew’s case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.”

Article discusses both the Moore and Drew cases.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/us/23cnceavesdropping.html?pagewanted=all

Article and video about Drew’s case:
http://www.copblock.org/1927/is-illinois-taking-an-artist-to-trial-to-silence-an-outspoken-critic-or-you/

mikey4001 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Except for the fact that all the Idiot Cop has to do is claim that “what you can’t hear on the tape is me being threatened, and maybe even the sounds of gunfire.” The Idiot Cop’s own recording of the incident will have been “unfortunately lost” or “damaged in the scuffle,” so we’ll just have to take his word for it.

PlagueSD says:

“n [sic] a hearing last December, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Jeff Allen invoked homeland security, arguing that Drew’s recording could have picked up police discussing anti-terrorism tactics. Drew’s case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.”

If the police are discussing anti-terrorism tactics out in the open, we have a bigger problem…public is just that, PUBLIC. You shouldn’t have any expectations of privacy. Especially if you’re a “public servant”.

BongoBern (profile) says:

Filming police

Seems to me, as in cases we’ve seen, we NEED to be filming public officials in action. I said “public,” we hire them with our tax money and it’s only fair that we know how our money is being spent. All it requires on the part of law enforcement is a little restraint if violence is unnecessary. I know their adrenaline’s up and they’re mad as hell, but not every takedown requires physical retribution.

Obama Bin Lyin says:

No surprise - FIBS

Outside of Illinois, people in Illinois are called FIBS. Fucking Illinois Bastards. No surprise here, Illinois represents all that is bad in politics. Bribery, corruption, assistant AG’s that don’t know the law, these are commonplace in the what is known as the shithole of the midwest.

People, just stay out of Illinois, you won’t be missing anything. I believe the actions of the police are similar to how the Taliban got started.

NullOp says:

Freedom

We don’t have freedom in this country! C’mon folks, the government has been trying to retire the Bill of Rights for years now! The wise among us will vote out all incumbents in 2012. The government will argue that if we do that how will anything run? This country has reached a point where a completely new House and Senate can do no worse for the American people than our currently sitting “leaders”.

Strike a blow for freedom: Retire the current government. Vote “NO’ in 2012.

moldor says:

Joke

What a complete joke these laws are – designed to protect the police so when they loose it with an offender or overstep their authority they are protected. Nothing more than thugs and bullies.

They should be held publicly accountable for their actions, as they are here in Australia – our system is far from perfect, but at least anything in a public place, including police, is fair game for recording.

I hope this guy fights these outrageous charges, as does anyone else charged with this stupid “crime” – while we don’t have the First Amendment to fall back on (indeed, we have NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT of free speech), at least, for all their faults, our system seems to be based more on common sense.

Bergman (profile) says:

How does the AG define credentialed press? Is it someone with a government issued press-pass, or is it anyone affiliated with a news outlet? If the former, then they are attempting to license an unalienable right and deny it to those who aren’t licensed (happens all the time with guns, though a lot less often with 1st amendment issues) or if the latter, there’s some potential here…

I wonder if Techdirt would be willing to sell Commenter credential cards?

Thomas (profile) says:

Still shows..

that cops are arrogant and believe citizens have no rights whatsoever, and their bosses and AGs are equally corrupt. The Illinois AG wants to prevent another Rodney King incident, not by preserving the rights of citizens against police brutality, but by blocking any evidence that the cops indeed beat the crap out of innocent people. So if the cops decide to start gunning down people and then putting guns in the victims hands and claim self defense they would get away with it cause there is no videotape evidence of their criminal activity.

Did the AG ever read the Constitution?

Maybe it’s time to just refer to the local cops and the federal cops as the Gestapo? they seem to have much the same goals; see all citizens as potential criminals who simply haven’t been caught yet.

Anonymous Coward says:

This country’s fixation on constitutionality and on the Constitution in general will lead to many more problems like this in the future. The Constitution and the granting of state’s rights are archaic and antiquarian establishments, conceived and written before man had developed technologies so rudimentary as electricity, radio, recorded sound, telephony, etc. – all of which were late 19th and early 20th century inventions. Now we’re living in the 21st century and living in a supposed homogenous country, where there is no need for separate state’s rights and where there is need to update the nation’s constitution in general.

Originally, part of the reason for having separate rights/laws for states was to appease different areas, but also it was needed because communication between certain areas of the Union was virtually impossible without spending weeks or months in correspondence. This is 2011 and we can now take moving color photos of anything that can be accompanied with an audio archive that represents a depiction of reality that is indisputable…a concept that was likely not even in the minds of our forefathers.

Why then, do we have laws, political structure and confines that are based on a concept that we cannot even fathom? Eavesdropping, abortion, copyright, patents, and certain taxes are just a few of the things argued about constantly within a Constitutional context that are not mentioned within a document that the citizens of the US hold so true, which was written long before such issue were even imagined.

The Constitution was written in 1787 and permitted slavery, about a hundred years before electricity and telephone and 200+ years before the internet and the ability of every US citizen to reveal their genitals to a stranger in Japan on a computer monitor.

I guess my point is that basing laws on a Constitution that is outdated and has been revised 27 times is just plain fucking stupid…. Common sense = everyone with a camera and an internet connection is now a “journalist” if they act in such a manner, rewrite the constitution based on 2011 standards, stop being stupid and petty and stop invoking a 225 year old document that pertains to the National law of a country. If the constitution was perfect, why did we make almost 30 edits?

Thomas (profile) says:

Maybe a warning sign..

at all airports, highways entering the state, bus stations, and train stations. The sign could say “Warning – it is a felony to videotape any police officer in the state of Illinois – penalty is 15 years in prison with no parole”. then think of all the conventions that would suddenly decide to go elsewhere and all the tourists who would avoid the state. I know Illinois isn’t a big tourist state, but I’m sure the city of Chicago would hate to see all those conventions suddenly held in another state.

It used to be that the police were there to help people. In the last 50 years this has changed – the police are now there to catch criminals. In the mind of the police there are a very small grouping of people: Cops, criminals, and persons who haven’t yet committed a crime or been caught. And the police still wonder why people do not trust them and fear them. It’s really bad if you are a member of a racial minority – cops simply assume if you are live in certain neighborhoods you are a criminal.

How about a video that would help the police? For example, suppose you see a cop walking down the street and you video him with your phone and then a crazy person jumps out and shoots the cop dead and your video clearly shows the face of the shooter. Don’t you think the cops would want that video to catch the shooter? But knowing that you could be sent to prison yourself for videotaping the police you quietly erase the video and go on your way. Is that what the police want?

anon says:

saving face?

How amusing that the article mentions that forcing a plea deal is the only way to save face. I presume that would be the AG’s face that needs saving.

There is no saving face, lose the arrogance, and eat humble pie. it does the body good. How do so many arrogant, egotistical, self-absorbed…persons… get the positions they get?

they aren’t part of the solution, and a large part of the ongoing problem…

Anonymous Coward says:

Related: Philadelphia cops beat people, destroy cameras

Philadelphia

?Even a top cop concedes a right to video arrests – but the street tells a different story? by Jan Ransom, Philadelphia Daily News, Sat, Sep. 3, 2011:

TAMERA MEDLEY begged the police officer to stop slamming her head – over and over – into the hood of a police cruiser.

Thinking they were helping, passers-by Shakir Riley and Melissa Hurling both turned their cellphone video cameras toward the melee that had erupted on Jefferson Street in Wynnefield, they said.

But then the cops turned on them.

Riley had started to walk away when at least five baton-wielding cops followed him, he said, and they beat him, poured a soda on his face and stomped on his phone, destroying the video he had just taken.

[…more…]

Even though the Philadelphia cops destroyed the cellphones and video, this story is corrobated by a ?half-dozen? witnesses.

Whatever says:

Punk Cops No Different from Street Gangs

They don’t want to be recorded because they love to commit crimes and not have to answer for it.

They rather see whole families carried out of homes in body bags and kiss a child molester while patting them on their backs for doing a good job destroying children’s lives and their families.

Another reason they’re jerks is because of this…
http://www.adversity.net/policefire.htm

Thomas (profile) says:

Re: Punk Cops No Different from Street Gangs

Cops are a little different: they wear uniforms and have badges and have the power of the state behind them. That being said, they can get away with things that would put street gang members in jail. cops can always claim “resisting arrest” for beating the crap out of innocent people, or even shooting them.

anyone who trusts a cop in a city is foolish. I’d much rather deal with a mugger than a corrupt cop.

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

Police state

People in high places don’t like it when they get caught with their pants down, their evil deeds exposed. So they use intimidation tactics (prosecution, threat of prison time etc) to shut us up so we won’t expose them. But I rather expect that such tactics will eventually come around and bite those who use them in the rear-hard.

You still reap what you sow. None of God’s laws have ever been repealed, nor will they ever be.

simon says:

america..

and you americans say that america is so great, huh? i’m swedish and could probably make a list of 100 different ways that makes europe loads more free then you say/think your country is. this is just one of the thing that shows just how stupid your country can be from time to time.

i would like to meet the cops that can send another human being in jail for almost a houndred years just becouse they got cought on tape.. i mean, how can they even go to sleep at night and feel like they’ve done anything good, knowing that they are responsible for it? it’s disgusting! they are fucking disgusting!

simon says:

america..

and you americans say that america is so great, huh? i’m swedish and could probably make a list of 100 different ways that makes europe loads more free then you say/think your country is. this is just one of the thing that shows just how stupid your country can be from time to time.

i would like to meet the cops that can send another human being in jail for almost a houndred years just becouse they got cought on tape.. i mean, how can they even go to sleep at night and feel like they’ve done anything good, knowing that they are responsible for it? it’s disgusting! they are fucking disgusting!

The eye says:

Re:

If they deem it illegal to record the police, they may as well say we know we are wrong but you can’t prove it because it is illegal to record us. “We do what we want to do and you shut up”; I’m affriad not, if they can record us and take pictures in public so can we, and so shall we. It is only so much the people are going to take off these ignorant, raceist, oppresors that we call our Government. If they keep going at this rate it’s going to be a revolution and frankly it is long over due, we put them in their position’s and they misuse their authority on us, that is unacceptable.

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